What to expect from the controversial Michael Jackson documentary

Leaving Neverland dir. Dan Reed 2019

Upcoming documentary Leaving Neverland has proved even more controversial than initially anticipated.

Warning: contains discussion of allegations which some readers may find disturbing.

Michael Jackson has long been crowned the "King of Pop" and has given the world such classic records as 1982's Thriller and 1987's Bad. However, the pop-star has also been subject to damaging allegations, of which are now arguably synonymous with his legacy. In 1993 he was accused of sexually abusing a child, which was settled outside of court. In 2005 a similar case appeared in the media, with Jackson being found not guilty. 

He passed away on June 25, 2009, and arguably he has become far more controversial in the wake of his death. This is due to more reports and accounts surfacing, which continue to gain exposure even today. The latest thorough accounts come from Wade Robson and Jimmy Safechuck, who feature in the new documentary from Dan Reed, Leaving Neverland

The four-hour documentary has an official synopsis: "At the height of his stardom Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell their story and how they came to terms with it years later." The Channel 4 and HBO co-production was always going to prove controversial; critics were shaken by it when it premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It's a difficult subject to tackle and has inevitably drawn considerable attention from Jackson's estate. 

 A lawsuit saw them take aim at the film, but it looks like both HBO and Channel 4 will go ahead and air the documentary. According to sources, "A spokesperson for Channel 4 told Digital Spy: "Our plans remain unchanged. Channel 4 will broadcast this two part documentary on 6th and 7th March. Our viewers are entitled to hear from these two men who Michael Jackson first met when they were children."

We can expect it to offer a thorough and personal account of the experiences that these two individuals had with Jackson as children and how this has shaped them later in life. It's sure to make for thought-provoking viewing and is likely to prove even more divisive when it reaches general release.

In other news, here are the artists set to perform at the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.